News from our National Parks MAY 2010
News, events, and more.
== Alaska ==
Denali Thaws Out
(Alaska) — As days lengthen and temperatures rise above freezing, Denali National Park and Preserve is springing back to life. The Denali Visitor Center opens for the summer season on Saturday, May 15. Rangers will be on hand to provide general park information and
interpretive programs, which include the 2 p.m. sled dog demonstration. Other facilities in the park’s entrance area, including the Denali Bookstore, Morino Grill, Wilderness Access Center, and the Backcountry Information Center, will also open for the season on May 15. One
campground is currently open (Riley Creek), and others will open on May 19 and May 20. Denali Natural History Tours begin on Wednesday, May 12, and the Tundra Wilderness Tour (TWT) shoulder season trips begin on May 15. The shuttle bus system begins its seasonal
operations on Thursday, May 20. The system provides access beyond the Savage River (Mile 15) as far west as the Toklat River (Mile 53). Buses will run farther west, as far as the Eielson Visitor Center (Mile 66), beginning on Tuesday, June 1, and the entire 92-mile length of
the park road will open for bus travel on Tuesday, June 8. The first 15 miles of the park road will remain open to visitors in private vehicles throughout the summer season.
For more information, please contact Kris Fister at 907-683-9583.
Little Cabin in the Woods
(Alaska) — No Blackberry or iPhone service. Yikes, is that possible?
Absolutely! Journalists, consider staying at a remote National Park Service cabin and then, upon your return to civilization, bringing your readers, viewers, or listeners the story of an unwired piece of an Alaskan vacation.
There are public-use cabins along the coast of Kenai Fjords, which provides a perfect refuge for kayakers. Along the Yukon River lie historic mining and roadhouse cabins that now host river travelers. For the fly-in enthusiast, a dozen cabins await in Wrangell-St. Elias, America’s largest national park. Ironically, all the information on these very unwired cabins is available online at :
For more information, please contact John Quinley at 907-644-3512.
== California ==
(California) — On May 15 from 8 a.m. to noon, come enjoy the wonder and beauty of native plants in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Then, take some of those species home. The annual Santa Monica Mountains Native Plant Fair offers native plants for sale, educational materials on gardening with natives, and tours of the National Park Service’s ethnobotanic garden and native plant nursery. There will be a special planting event at 10 a.m. to help restore parkland. For more information, please contact Lauren Newman at 805-370-2343.
Creative Expression Where Freedom Was Denied
(California) — Visitors are invited to enjoy “Selected Artists from the Henry Fukuhara Annual Alabama Hills and Manzanar Workshop,” an art show and sale sponsored by the Manzanar History Association and held in the Manzanar Interpretive Center through May 16. For more information, please contact Alisa Lynch at 760-878-2194 ext. 2711.
(California) — On May 22 at 2 p.m., join Ranger Mike at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to learn how to use GPS to explore the Santa Monica Mountains. The class will cover the nuts and bolts of the device, field applications, and rules and regulations for use at different park sites. Participants will then head out into the park for a field session. For more information, please contact Lauren Newman at 805-370-2343.
== Colorado ==
Santa Fe Trail Caravan
(Colorado) — Take a three-mile hike down the Santa Fe Trail behind an ox-driven Conestoga wagon. Interpreters from Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site will demonstrate trail life in the 1840s. The caravan will leave Sierra Vista Overlook on Highway 350 at 10 a.m. on May 8 and travel to the Timpas Picnic Area. For more information, please contact Rick Wallner at 719-383-5024.
== Florida ==
Christmas Tree Worm, Spinycheek Sleeper, Mosquitofish…
(Florida) — Join the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society at the Biscayne BioBlitz on April 30 and May 1. Teams of scientists, naturalists, community leaders, students, and members of the public will set out to discover and record as many living organisms in and out of the crystal-clear water at Biscayne National Park as possible in 24 hours. The event will increase awareness of the diverse—and, in some cases, fantastically named—species found in Biscayne—home to the perfumed spiderlily and the sargassumfish, among others—and afford stewards a better understanding of how to protect the natural environment. Activities will continue throughout the two days at the main “base camp” at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center and at a smaller “base camp” on Elliott Key. A festival celebrating biodiversity will follow the species count on May 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Linda Friar at 305-242-7714.
Guns in a Park—But Not to Demonstrate Constitutional Rights
(Mississippi) — Civil War re-enactor and retired history teacher Curtis Makamson will discuss his collection of replicas of Civil War-era weapons at the William M. Colmer Visitor Center of Gulf Islands National Seashore on May 2. Come at 2 p.m. for this approximately one-hour talk. The collection includes muskets, pistols, and edged carbines.
(Mississippi) — Visitors can learn gyotaku, a traditional form of Japanese fish printing used by fishermen to record their catches, at Gulf Islands National Seashore on May 23.
For more information, please contact Susan Blair at 228-230-4106.
== New York ==
There’s No Place Like Home, But a Hospital Makes a Good Consolation Prize (New York) — When a group of architecture students from Sweden were stranded because of the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull, they got a tour of Ellis Island’s south side. This area contains a U.S. Health Hospital not open to public visitation, where the students learned about pavilion-style medical architecture and early 20th-century construction techniques. For more information, please contact Mindi Rambo at 212-668-2208.
== Pennsylvania ==
Fête at Valley Forge
(Pennsylvania) — On Saturday, May 1, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Revolutionary War re-enactors will hold an encampment to celebrate the 232 nd anniversary of America’s pivotal alliance with France in 1778. Visitors can speak with officers, enlisted men, women, and children about what they experienced at Valley Forge and what the French Alliance meant to the American Revolution. At the park’s visitor center, children can create tri-corner hats and French flags. The next day, Sunday, May 2, a Washington Memorial Chapel service at 11:30 a.m. will commemorate the Alliance and the French and American soldiers who fell in combat with the British. A special wreath-laying ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. at the Daughters of the American Revolution Monument. For more information, please contact Jeffrey Oates at 610-783-1009.
== Puerto Rico ==
Hit the Beach, Broom in Hand
(Puerto Rico) — San Juan National Historic Site will hold its annual spring cleanup on Saturday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to noon. The cleanup will take place on the north beach of Castillo San Cristobal, which features the historic Garita del Diablo and the community of La Perla.
Usually, the Garita del Diablo and the stretch of beach along San Cristobal’s north walls are off-limits to visitors. Volunteers will be given the opportunity to visit the fortifications at San Juan NHS free of charge after participating in the cleanup. For more information, please contact Dilcia Gonzalez at 787-729-6777 ext. 239.
:: In the Southeast Region ::
Paddle from Virginia to Louisiana
(Southeast) — The National Park Service and partners are working to identify a saltwater paddling trail that will take canoeists and kayakers along the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; connect to the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail; and, picking up where the Florida trail ends, extend along the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Many access sites and accommodations for canoes and kayaks already exist along the route, but paddlers lack a database and map of all safe, legal access points, as well as a guide to dangerous conditions and gaps in the route. For more information, please contact Charlotte Gillis at 404-507-5692.